[uf-discuss] Welcome, RESTafarains!

Dr.Ernie Prabhakar drernie at opendarwin.org
Fri Nov 25 18:50:48 PST 2005

Hi all,

As this is the one month anniversary of uf-rest, I wanted to take a  
few moments to welcome the new "RESTafarains" [1] and help you get  
acclimatized.  I presume everyone has seen the wiki:


and the archive:


That should hopefully give you the *technical* background.  However,  
there's also a certain *philosophical* attitude [2] that undergirds  
this project, which might be a little confusing if you haven't  
experienced it before.  While a Zen Koan [3] would arguably be a more  
appropriate format, I'll cheat and give you my brief (if incomplete  
and subjective) summary of the salient cultural distinctives:

A. Value Humans

This isn't just about the social dynamics of the mailing list (though  
it is that); rather, it is the guiding principle of the entire  
endeavor. The goal is to build technology systems that support the  
way humans naturally work, rather than trying to make humans act like  
(or worse, serve) machines.  While this may seems hopelessly utopian,  
it actually flows naturally from...

B. Build The Simplest Thing That Works (TSTTW)

"Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but  
nothing left to take away."  Note that this is NOT a call for  
mindless simplicity, but rather for a clear understanding of the  
mininum actually needed to "work" in real life (vs. "boiling the  
ocean"). Which leads me to...

C. Burn Ego to Buy Understanding

In my world, at least, "ego" is abundant, but "understanding" is  
scarce.  A successful RESTafarain has plenty of ego (we are trying to  
change the world, over all :-), but values understanding above all  
else.  Thus, he/she is willing to ask dumb questions, change their  
mind, and do the tedious homework necessary to find and justify the  
"right" answer -- rather than trying to pontificate from a position  
of supposed superiority.

Like everything else, these are informative, not definitive: feedback  
and comments are actively encouraged! I look forward to hearing from  
and interacting with all of you.  We're still in the early stages,  
but I believe this will ultimately become an epic and powerful  
journey. I am grateful for the chance to share it with you.

-- Dr. Ernie
uf-REST Moderator

[1] As far as I know, the term "RESTafarains" was first coined by  
David Hansson.

[2] Inherited Principles

Microformats Principles:

REST Principles:


[3] http://www.lisp.org/humor/ai-koans.html
Ernest N. Prabhakar, Ph.D. <drernie at opendarwin.org>
Ex-Physicist, Marketing Weenie, and Dilettante Hacker
Probe-Hacker blog: http://www.opendarwin.org/~drernie

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